Yesterday I organized my first WordPress meetup in my home city Chelyabinsk. Yes, the one with the meteor, but let’s not focus on that. Before me, it was organized just once a year ago. I decided to restart the tradition and here’s what went out of it.
I attended quite a few WordPress meetups last few years. Most notable were organized in Moscow by Konstantin Kovshenin, and in New York by Steve Bruner. I gotta say that even though the New York and Moscow communities are quite different, they are the same in terms of feelings people get after attending these meetups. The feeling of being a part of something bigger, something important.
One can learn new things from experienced colleagues, find someone to work with, but most importantly, find new friends and expand their network. Some scientists believe this is the key to a longer and happier life.
You know that to organize an event you need at least three things: venue, speakers, and audience.
Finding venue was pretty easy thanks to my friends at one of the local universities, who kindly let us organize the whole thing at their facility for free. We were given a nice auditorium, a projector, and a Wi-Fi which is enough for a great meetup venue-wise.
For this event, I decided to prepare a very simple talk that would introduce the audience to the world of WordPress. It is called “If you need a website”. Basically, I was describing different ways of using WordPress: from a simple blog to an e-commerce website.
My friend Gennady Kovshenin, who was also a speaker at WordCamp Russia 2015, 2014 and 2013 gave a talk on different kinds of hosting for WordPress. Also without super technical stuff but yet very interesting.
Getting people on board was the hardest part, I made an announcement 10 days before the event, and clearly, it was kind of a short notice. Especially in a city that had only one WordPress meetup a year ago. I launched a group at vk.com and promoted it among other WordPress-related communities. Long story short, there were five of us at the meetup.
The whole thing went very smoothly. People liked the talks, asked many questions, that I and Gennady had pleasure answering to.
I believe it is a good start (or restart) for a Chelyabinsk WordPress Community gatherings. I will probably announce the next one in two or three weeks and will try to get more speakers on board. Anyway, I’m very glad that I organized this meetup. It was a great pleasure to see and talk to people who share same interests with me.